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No Child Left Behind: Correct Placement Equals Retention. Presented by: Kathie Montognese Director of Testing Services Hennepin Technical College MnSCU Accuplacer Institutional Administrator Minnesota College and University System. Innovations 2009 Conference Reno, NV March 15, 2009.

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no child left behind correct placement equals retention

No Child Left Behind:Correct Placement Equals Retention

Presented by:

Kathie Montognese

Director of Testing Services

Hennepin Technical College

MnSCU Accuplacer Institutional Administrator

Minnesota College and University System

Innovations 2009 Conference

Reno, NV

March 15, 2009

session overview
Session Overview
  • Why do we test for course placement?
    • Many students are underprepared for college
    • Accurate placement improves retention and student success
  • Overview of Hennepin Technical College
    • Challenges and concerns
  • How can we help students and improve retention?
    • Overview of A+dvancer
    • Partnering with High Schools and ABE Centers
challenges of remediating underprepared students
Challenges of Remediating Underprepared Students
  • Country is undergoing profound economic and demographic changes
    • Creates a demand for workers with post- secondary training
  • Employers are looking for employees that are cross-trained
    • Do more with less
  • Budget cuts in education
    • Less $$ coming in, while more $$ needed to help students with multiple barriers
  • Well educated Baby Boomers are retiring and being replaced by the ID generation
national statistics
National Statistics

Diploma to Nowhere, Sept 2008

  • More than a third of all students enroll in remedial courses
  • Percent of students receiving remediation (2004)
    • All students 34%
  • Institution type
    • Two-year public college 43%
    • Four-year public college 29%

Bridging the Gap, Jan 2009

  • Nearly a third of all incoming freshman enroll in remedial courses
  • Institution type
    • Two-year public colleges 42% of first year students
    • Four-year public college 27% of first year students
  • Remedial courses offered at 99% of public 2 year colleges and 75% of public 4 year institutions
mn statistics getting prepared march 2008
MN Statistics: Getting Prepared, March 2008

Minnesota Public High School Graduates who Enrolled in Minnesota Public Higher Education and took Developmental Courses within Two Years of Graduation:

*Percentages do not add to 38% (the total) due to rounding of numbers.

Sources: U of M, Office of Institutional Research and Reporting, and MnSCU Research and Planning

hennepin technical college at a glance
Largest Technical College in Minnesota

Serving over 8,500 students on 2 campuses

Serving over 12,000 students through Customized Training Division

Majors offered

44 (A.S., A.A.S., Diplomas, Certificates)

Part of MnSCU system

54 campuses

7 state universities

32 - 2 year colleges

Average Age: 27

Enrollment Status:

Part Time 68%

Full Time 32%


Male 53%

Female 47%

Ethnic Background:

Caucasian 65%

African American 15%

Asian 6%

Hispanic 2%

American Indian 1%

Not Declared 11%

Hennepin Technical CollegeAt a Glance
challenges and concerns
Challenges and Concerns


  • Many students arrive at our doors only to find they are underprepared to begin college-level coursework
  • In 2007-2008, 60% of students placed into a developmental course in one of the three basic skills areas


  • Statistics show that students who begin in developmental classes are less likely to persist and graduate
  • According to the Alliance for Excellent Education (2006), the U.S. spends $1.4 billion to provide remedial classes at colleges for students who recently completed high school
what can we do look for ways to improve retention
What can we do? Look for ways to Improve Retention
  • Fall of 2006, Hennepin Technical College Testing Center obtained initiative funding to purchase A+dvancer, online tutorial of basic skills
  • Initially used two ways:
    • Study before initial course placement testing
    • Prior to retesting
a dvancer pilot
A+dvancer Pilot

Pilot results were very encouraging


  • Of new students who used A+dvancer and retested with ACCUPLACER, 54.5% improved their placements in math
  • Average improvement in Arith was 21 points
  • Average improvement in Algebra was 15.8 points


  • Of new students who used A+dvancer and retested with ACCUPLACER, 38% improved their placements in reading
  • Average improvement in Reading was 6.1 points

Overall 70% of students who used A+dvancer prior to retesting went up one to two courses

expanded the use of a dvancer
Expanded the Use of A+dvancer

LRC with tutors, can work with more students

Developmental instructors in classroom

ABE working with adults transitioning to college

College Readiness High School Testing Program

M-Powered, Customized Training

customized training m powered project
Customized Training: M-Powered Project
  • M-Powered is a fast track training program in manufacturing: metalstamping/sheet metal fabrication, welding and machining/CNC operation
  • The focus of M-Powered is low-income, unemployed and dislocated workers. Program is 12 weeks of “fast track” classroom training
  • Assessment testing showed 75% of participants did not have the necessary basic arithmetic skills needed to be successful in this fast paced training
  • Students with arith test scores below 40 on Accuplacer were required to complete the A+dvancer arith coursework
  • 73% of students who completed A+dvancer coursework passed the final exam
  • Advisory Board has recommended that A+dvancer be included in the M-Powered program
model used at hennepin technical college to partner with surrounding high schools
Model used at Hennepin Technical College to partner with surrounding High Schools
  • TOUR:Hennepin Technical College for career exploration, “What programs are available to me?”
  • TEST: Take ACCUPLACER Placement Test at High School, proctored by college testing staff
  • TALK: Receive individualized test interpretation with HTC counselors/testing staff at HS, sign up students for A+dvancer, parent evenings

Working on a system to track student progression from high school to college

ascension high school project
Ascension High School Project
  • Inner city charter high school
  • 91%, 1st generation college students
  • A+dvancer for 6 weeks, 2 hrs/week with instructor
  • 26 Seniors
    • 3 Reading Comp
    • 15 Sentence Skills
    • 5 Arith
    • 2 Elm Alg
    • 1 Trig/CLM
a dvancer overview
A+dvancer Overview

Online tutorial to review/refresh basic skills

Reading, Sentence Skills, Arith, Elm Alg, CLM

Does not replace a devcourse


Optional Prescriptive Instruction

College Readiness Proficiencies

Skill-Level Diagnostic Reporting

a dvancer design
A+dvancer Design
  • Students can work on it anywhere at anytime- online delivery
  • Provides diagnostics, “What do I need to study?”
  • Prescribed instructional coursework (optional)
    • Individualized to students specific learning needs
    • Refreshes basic skills needed for college success
  • Targets certain populations
    • Students wanting to review skills prior to placement testing
    • Students needing remediation before retesting
    • Enrolled students needing light academic support

Not designed as a comprehensive developmental course.







Real Time

discussion and questions
Discussion and Questions

Kathie Montognese

Ph: 952-995-1545 (office)